Delicious Chicken Zigni

Delicious Chicken Zigni

Zigni is an East African stew and is the national dish of Eritrean. It is a meat that is stewed with tomato, onion, and berbere spice blend. This recipe is my take on this delicious traditional dish! This is perfect served family style alongside some flatbreads so everyone can just dig in!


  • 3tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Red onion, finely diced
  • 1 Large chicken breast
  • 1tbsp Tomato pure
  • 1tbsp Rose water
  • 100ml Red wine
  • 1tbsp Harissa paste
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1tsp Ground turmeric
  • 1⁄4tsp Nutmeg
  • 1⁄4tsp Ground clove
  • 1tsp Ground fenugreek
  • 1tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1tbsp Smoked paprika
  • 1tbsp Ground cumin
  • 1tbsp Ground coriander
  • 200g Tinned tomatoes, blended
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1⁄2 Green bell pepper, finely diced
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large cast iron pot over medium heat. To this add some salt and the diced onion and sweat until the onion begins to turn translucent.
  2. At this point cut the chicken breast into about 4 manageable pieces and add to the pot and allow to brown.
  3. Once the chicken has got some browning on the outside, add the tomato paste and cook off for 1 minute before adding all of the spices, the garlic, and the harissa paste. Toast all of this off for about 30 seconds.
  4. Now that the spices have toasted slightly, break the fry by adding the wine and lemon juice. Allow the wine to cook off until you get a sort of paste.
  5. Add your blended tomatoes to the pot along with the rose water and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover with a lid, turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for around 50 minutes.
  6. After the 50 minutes remove the pot from the heat. Using 2 wooden spoons or 2 forks shred the chicken in the pot. Add the lemon zest and half of the green peppers. Season to taste and put back over the heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer the stew into a dish and sprinkle the rest of the green pepper over the top. Drizzle with some olive oil and serve alongside warm flatbreads. (Keep an eye out for my gluten free flatbread recipe next week!)

About This Recipe

Zigni is an East African stew and is the national dish of Eritrean. It is a meat that is stewed with tomato, onion, and berbere spice blend. This recipe is for my take on this traditional dish! I use many of the spices that are in the berbere spice blend rather than the spice blend itself, as it can be quite hard to get a hold of. I also reduce the cooking time to make the dish more feasible for a weeknight meal.

The traditional version of the dish can take hours to cook making it unlikely that many people would make it very often. So, by reducing the cooking time this can be made more accessible. Using chicken breast that is cut into smaller chunks also means that it will take less time to get tender.

Though the recipe takes an hour or so to cook, most of that time is spent allowing it to cook slowly meaning for most of the time it won’t require much attention. You should definetly make this dish, it is absolutely delicious and the whole family will love it! I like to serve it family style in a serving dish alongside a tray of flatbreads so that everyone can just dig in!


Question: My zigni is watery why is this?

  • If your zigni is watery this just means that it hasn’t reduced enough. What you should do is have a gap in the lid to allow the steam to escape and the liquid to reduce. This can happen quite quickly so make sure you keep an eye on it while this is happening.

Question: Can I meal prep this/how long will it last?

  • Yes, you absolutely can! This can be frozen for up to 3 months and can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days, so it is perfect for meal prepping!

If you have any more questions feel free to email me them at

Love Gluten Free

Hey! I’m Caroline, I love baking and cooking and finding new ingredients to create better gluten free alternatives. In 2015 I found out I had coeliac and since then it has been my mission to find great ways to make gluten free food better.

Note that as an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from qualifying purchases.

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